Liberals denounce funding cuts to KAIROS

December-07-09

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
December 4, 2009

Liberals denounce funding cuts to KAIROS

OTTAWA - A well-respected faith-based international aid organization that has taken positions on climate change, the environment and poverty in contrast to Conservative policy had its funding cut – yet again showing the vindictive, partisan nature of the Conservative government, Liberal MPs said today.

“KAIROS does tremendous work to help the world’s poor,” said Scarborough-Guildwood MP John McKay.  “Stephen Harper is using his bully tactics once again to suppress those who might have a different opinion.  If the Conservatives don’t like you, they cut you off, regardless of the quality or importance of your work.”

“The Harper government can’t keep shutting down independent critical voices it disagrees with, especially when KAIROS’ member organizations – including the Mennonites and Anglican, United and Catholic Churches – are all important voices across Canada.”

For nearly 40 years, KAIROS has received funding to do projects in the world’s poorest countries and is recognized as one of Canada’s the most respected and important charitable organizations.  This week, KAIROS had its request for funding from the Canadian International Development Agency rejected because its programs no longer “fit” with the government’s priorities.

It is believed that KAIROS was censured for joining seven religious denominations in speaking out against Conservative policies on climate change, overseas mining operations, aboriginal rights, immigration and international trade.
Mr. McKay said KAIROS was instrumental in helping to get his private member’s bill C-293, the Better Aid Bill passed in 2008, which aims to better target foreign aid and make it more accountable.

“After nearly four decades of doing this kind of good work, the government has cut them off at the knees without so much as a letter or warning that this was coming,” said International Cooperation Critic Glen Pearson.  “This is part of a pattern of politicizing the public service, while sending a signal to NGOs that they dare not criticize the government or face extinction.”

“These kinds of intimidation and muzzling tactics are undemocratic,” said Mr. Pearson. “The government’s decision mocks freedom of speech, and is an insult to the faith communities of Canada that do critical work both at home and abroad.” 
 
Contacts:

Office of the Hon. John McKay, (613) 992-1447
Office of MP Glen Pearson, (613) 992-0805